How to Write a Car Wash and Car Detailing Business Plan

Many years ago, when I was in high school, it seemed like every other student wanted to start a car wash and car detailing business. 

Today, many, many years later, the car wash and car detailing industry is still running strong.  There is a multitude of reasons for this based on our business plan writer's research.  First, starting a carwash and car detailing business on a small scale is relatively inexpensive to do.  A bucket, few sponges, soap, and a towel, and you're ready to go.  On a large scale, carwash operators are able to service numerous cars using self-propelled carwash technologies.  This helps the organization lower prices and enjoy profits based on volume and convenience.  Regardless as which type of setup, large or small, having a well-written carwash and car detailing business plan is an important foundation for the success of your business.  From this, our carwash and car detailing business plan writer offer some insightful tips and tricks for writing your own business plan.

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Executive Summary for a Car Wash and Detailing Business Plan.

The executive summary section for a carwash and car detailing business plan should summarize each segment of the business plan succinctly while keeping in alignment with the full details of the business plan.  Further, in the executive summary section of this type of business plan, our business plan writer recommends that the writer provide a bit more details in reference to the location of the carwash.  A carwash location should be convenient to both residents of the area as well as easily accessible to travelers down major thoroughfares.  By highlighting this information, business owners are able to better prepare the reader for the need and future success of this type of business.

Company Information and Location.

The company information section of the carwash and car detailing business plan should start off with describing the need for a carwash in the area.  Common needs would include lack of competition in the area or poor service provided by area competitors.  Once the foundation is that, then providing significant details in relation to the location should be done.  Common factors that may be included in this type of location section would be traffic on a major thoroughfare, population density, and scarcity of competition.  Finally, to round out the section, make sure to include a future service section as well.  Most carwashes have typical services such as express washes, hand washes, etc.  By exploring new, differentiated services, the business owner is able to set the stage for future differentiation.

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Service Description and Competitive Advantages

The service description and competitive advantage section of a carwash and car detailed business plan should include common services that customers have come to expect from a carwash and car detailing service.  These common services may include express washes, interior and exterior cleaning, and bumper-to-bumper hand detailing activities.  Further, carwash and car detailing entrepreneurs should also explore new services not offered by other competitors.  These services may include car pickup and drop-off as well as a mobile carwash service component.  Even if these services are not huge profit centers, the differentiating factor helps set the company apart.

Target Market for a Car Wash and Detailing Business Plan

The target market section for this type of business plan is typically area residents within a 5 to 10-mile radius.  However, creative carwash entrepreneurs often extend their target market to include employees working for large businesses in the area and even tourists using major thoroughfares in the area.  By applying some creativity to the target market, business owners are able to expand their appeal to other demographics and subsequently generate additional revenue.

Industry research for a Car Wash and Detailing Business Plan

Industry research for the carwash and car detailing business plan section should start with examining what competitors in the industry do and then review national statistics related to carwashes and car detailing businesses.  For example, carwash competitors provide car washing car detailing services such as cleaning, washing, and waxing automobiles such as cars, trucks, and even RVs.  Industry competitors include small one-person car detailing services as well as self-service carwashes.  Revenues for this industry in the last 12 months were approximately $11 billion.  The growth rate for carwash and car detailing service revenues was about .6% for the last five years annually.  Industry competitors, collectively, exceeded $1 billion in profits.  However, profit margins have been decreasing by approximately 7% annually for the last several years.  An important weakness in the industry is its high competition and relatively low cost to start a carwash in business.

By providing industry statistics and other information about the carwash and car detailing industry, business owners are able to first set the foundation that they are an expert in the industry.  Next, it also shows that business owners are well-versed in industry happenings.

Owner and Management Section

The owner and management section of a carwash and car detailing business plan should start with discussing professional experience related to the carwash industry.  If carwash industry expertise is not an option, then explore managerial positions such as supervisor, manager, or shift leader.  Management expertise, in general, is transferable across industries.  Next, support professional experiences with any and all educational or extra-curricular activities.  An example of this will be if the future business owner a management degree or has volunteered in the local community.  By intertwining education and professional experiences, business owners are able to usually make up ground from a lack of industry-related experiences.

Funding Request for a Car Wash and Detailing Business Plan

The funding request section for a carwash and car detailing business plan should start off by explicitly stating how much money will be needed to start or purchase the business.  Common equipment needed for a carwash and car detailing business would be vacuums, hoses, cleaning material, and sponges/towels.  For a larger operation, land purchase or lease, as well as buildout information, should be included in the section.  Keep in mind, when creating the funding request section, make sure to leave wiggle room for funding.  To illustrate, if a vacuum costs $1500, then add 10 to 15% to this price.  By adding buffers to prices, business owners are able to have flexibility in selecting models as well as choosing new or used equipment.

Financials and Financial Projections for a Car Wash and Detailing Business Plan

The financials and financial projections section of a carwash and car detailing business plan should start with daily sales.  Some financial projection models for carwashes will breakout each service offered, average the sales price, and then project the number of customers choosing this product on a daily basis.  Other financial models will estimate the number of customers visiting the location and the average ticket sale per customer.  No matter which financial modeling structure is embrace, make sure to include justification for using it in the assumption section of the business plan.  Further, make sure to provide details showing growth rates and how various costs are aligned with revenue flows.  By far, the financial section of a carwash and car detailing business plan should be the most difficult.  However, with a well-structured financial section, the perceived risk for investing in this type of business may be substantially mitigated.

Hopefully, these insightful tips and tricks for writing a business plan were helpful.  As always, if you need help with a business plan or financial projections, just send us an email or give us a call. 

Phone: 321-948-9588



Author: Paul Borosky, Doctoral Candidate, MBA., Author

Owner of: Quality Business Plan, and Quality Business Consultant.

Date: 3/25/2021